Mental Illness In Shakespeare's Macbeth

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Bryanna E. McCool Mrs. Dean British Literature 25 January 2018 Mental Illness in Shakespeare’s Macbeth The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare, a play wrought with prophecies, deception, guilt, and death, brings light to the symptoms of mental illnesses and their effects on the human brain’s ability to reason, trust, and act in times of pressure. Both Macbeth and his lady are plagued by mental illness, and the effects of their illness only grow as the play evolves. Macbeth’s symptoms of schizophrenia and anxiety, as well as Lady Macbeth’s anxiety as well as hallucinations that eventually push her to suicide prove that not only can mental illness alter the way a person sees a situation, but it can also drive them to harm others and themselves. Macbeth’s guilt and battle with mental illness begins early within the play: right after the murder of King Duncan. Macbeth, once a loyal sergeant in Duncan’s army, has killed the king in order to possess the throne of Scotland. This act of such extreme measures begins Macbeth’s descent into madness and insomnia. Immediately after the murder of Duncan, Macbeth says, “Methought I heard a voice cry, ‘Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep.” (Macbeth, Act II Scene II) Voices within his mind is the first symptom of schizophrenia that Macbeth presents in the play. However, the evidence of schizophrenia within the mind of Lord Macbeth does not end after the murder of Duncan, in fact it gets seemingly worse. Soon after the murder

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